A doctor who just returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea tested positive for the virus Thursday (Oct 23) in New York City, becoming the city’s first diagnosed case.
The doctor, Craig Spencer, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital on Thursday and placed in isolation while health care workers spread out across the city to trace anyone he might have come into contact with in recent days. A further test will be conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control to confirm the initial test.
While officials have said they expected isolated cases of the disease to arrive in New York eventually, and had been preparing for this moment for months, the first case highlighted the challenges surrounding containment of the virus, especially in a crowded metropolis.
Even as the authorities worked to confirm that Mr. Spencer was infected with Ebola, it emerged that he traveled from Manhattan to Brooklyn on the subway on Wednesday night, when he went to a bowling alley and then took a taxi home.
The next morning, he reported having a temperature of 103 degrees, raising questions about his health while he was out in public.
A person infected with Ebola cannot spread the disease until they begin to display symptoms, and it cannot be spread through the air. As the person becomes sicker, the viral load in the body builds, and they become more and more contagious.
Dr. Spencer’s travel history and the timing of the onset of his symptoms led health officials to dispatch “disease detectives immediately began to actively trace all of the patient’s contacts to identify anyone who may be at potential risk,” according toa statement released by the department.
More at NYTimes
In other news, Amber Vinson, the nurse who traveled from Cleveland to Dallas and was treating fatal Ebola patient Thomas Duncan, has ceased from showing any symptoms of the disease and will be released from the hospital soon.